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Nikki Houston Realtor

3 Areas Private Landlords overlook before Renting out a Home

Areas of consideration Homeowners should analyze before renting out their homes

Contemporary Home in Houston Tx

Practice Due Diligence before Renting Your Home

Opening your home to renters can be a fantastic opportunity to boost your retirement savings, enjoy financial flexibility, or ease your mortgage payments. With the current bustling rental market, many renters are eager to find tenants who can help them save on  monthly costs and boost cash flow.

If you’re contemplating renting out your home, it is worth familiarizing yourself with the legalities and rules in Texas, especially in Houston and understanding the difference in local ordinances, especially regarding safety, maintenance, and inspection requirements. 

While you may be less stringent rules that reflect your personality, you are still responsible for maintaining a habitable environment for your tenant; so here are 3 critical areas to consider before taking the next step. 

Legal Aspects

As a landlord or even tenant in Houston, Texas, it’s essential to be familiar with the state and local laws governing rental properties, of which some critical ones, include:

  1. Texas Property Code: The Texas Property Code is the primary source of landlord-tenant laws in the state, which apply to Houston as well. The code covers topics such as lease agreements, security deposits, repairs, maintenance, and eviction processes.
  2. Fair Housing Act: The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits any type of discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. The Texas Fair Housing Act extends these protections at the state level.
  3. Security Deposits: In Texas, landlords must return the deposit within 30 days after the tenant moves out. Deductions can be made for unpaid rent, damages beyond normal wear and tear, or other lease violations.
  4. Repairs and Maintenance: Landlords are responsible for maintaining a habitable property and repairing any issues that affect health and safety, and the Tenants must notify the landlord in writing about necessary repairs, and landlords have a reasonable time to fix the issue, usually 7 days.
  5. Notice of Entry: Tenants have a right to privacy, so Landlords must provide at least 24 hours’ notice before entering the rental unit for non-emergency purposes, such as inspections or repairs, unless it’s an emergency
  6. Evictions: Landlords must follow a specific legal process for evictions, which includes providing a written notice to vacate, which gives the tenant three days to move out or remedy the issue. The landlord can file an eviction lawsuit if the Tenant does not comply

You should consult a local attorney or property management professional for specific guidance on Houston rental laws and to stay up-to-date with any changes in legislation.

Screen Rental Tenants

Tenant Screening

In Houston, tenant screening helps you find responsible, reliable renters who will pay rent on time and take care of your property. Screening is crucial to ensure a successful landlord-tenant relationship and protect your investment.

Why You should screen tenants;

For Financial stability: Verifying a tenant’s income and credit history helps you assess their ability to pay rent consistently and on time.

Maintain a Rental history: Evaluating previous rental experiences can provide insights into the applicant’s behavior, such as timely rent payments, adherence to lease terms, and care for the property.

Avoid legal issues: Thorough tenant screening minimizes the risk of potential evictions, property damage, and legal disputes.

Here is how you can screen Tenants

  1. Rental application: A standardized rental application form collects relevant information such as personal details, employment history, income, and references.
  2. Credit check: Obtain the applicant’s credit report to evaluate their credit history and determine their financial responsibility.
  3. Background check: performs a criminal background check to identify any history of illegal activities that could pose a risk
  4. Employment and income verification: An applicant’s employment status and income will verify their ability to afford the rent. A general guideline is that rent should not exceed 30% of their gross monthly income.
  5. Rental history: Contacting previous landlords to inquire about the applicant’s rental history, including payment punctuality, lease compliance, and property maintenance.
  6. References: Reach out to the tenant’s references to gain further insights into their character and reliability.

Rent Policies

  • Establishing a clear and fair policy with your tenants ensures a smooth rental experience and improves a positive Landlord- tenant relationship.

    Here are some popular policies worth notifying your tenants about;

  • Legal compliance: Ensure your policies follow federal, state, and local laws, especially the Texas Property Code, Fair Housing Act, and any Houston-specific regulations. Familiarize yourself with these laws to avoid potential legal issues.
  • Property type and location: Consider the type of property you are renting and its location. These could be single-family homes, apartments, or duplex, and tailor your policies accordingly, especially with parking rules, noise restrictions, or trash disposal.
  • Safety and security: Implement policies that prioritize the safety and security of your tenants and property, for instance, regarding guests, key management, and emergency procedures.
  • Maintenance and upkeep: Establish clear expectations for property maintenance, and assignment of responsibilities for repairs and routine upkeep. Specify the process for requesting repairs and your response time for addressing maintenance issues.
  • Rent collection: Set a clear rent payment policy, including the due date, accepted payment methods, late fees, and grace periods and enforce these policies consistently to maintain fairness amongst your tenants.
  • Pet policy: Almost everyone has a pet nowadays, so determine whether you will allow pets, and if so, establish strict guidelines for pet types, breeds, sizes, and numbers, and especially any incurred damages.
  • Lease terms and renewal: Decide on the length of lease terms and the process for lease renewal, including any rent adjustments or changes in lease conditions.
  • Conflict resolution: Develop a process for addressing tenant disputes, concerns, or policy violations. Ensure that your approach is fair, consistent, and respectful of all parties involved.
  • Communication: Maintain an open line of communication with tenants to address questions, concerns, or feedback related to your policies. Be receptive to tenant needs and adjust policies as necessary to maintain a positive rental environment.
  • Market trends and competition: Researching the local rental market to understand the standards and expectations for similar properties in your area, helps you align your policies with market trends to ensure your rental remains competitive and attractive to potential tenants.

Ultimately, renting your home can be a smooth and rewarding experience with the right guidance and preparation, and as a trusted realtor, I’m here to help you navigate the process, find your perfect tenant and develop conducive policies that suit both parties.

Don’t hesitate to reach out for personalized assistance and expert advice. I’d be more than happy to help you embark the exciting journey to passive cash flow. 
Your dream tenant is just a call away!

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